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Falling Skies S04E10: "Drawing Straws"


The 2nd Mass now has the Millennium Falcon and a Jedi on its side, and the Espheni are so screwed—even if the upper management of the 2nd Mass is barely functional on a good day. 

Mommy and Daddy spent most of "Drawing Straws" fighting about the need to actually, physically draw straws to decide who gets to be Han Solo.  Meanwhile, Hal and Ben were still doing their creepy thing with Maggie and the Espheni's would-be Lady Vader turned on her Sith master and we still have two episodes to go before it's time to bid adieu to Falling Skies until next summer. All things considered, the humans are in a surprisingly good place—not a great place, since the Espheni went all Order 66 on the humans and those who remain are encouraging the survivors to do their best Obi-Wan on the nearest twin-sunned desert planet—but still, it's a better place than I expected them to be in. 


For those who don't speak Star Wars, I have nothing to say to you except shame, SHAME upon your children and your children's children, but the parallels between Falling Skles' current state and Skywalker family history à la A New Hope and the abominable prequels are kind of hard to ignore. Pope even joked about it, and when Lexie's Espheni sperm donor was teaching her how to blow shit up with her mind, I was actually startled when he didn't tell her to feel the force flow through her. 

I'm not sure what this means for the rest of the season—or the Falling Skies story as a whole. I had freaking Han and Leia action figures on top of my wedding cake, so I think my feelings on anything that can even vaguely be construed as a Star Wars reference are pretty obvious. Whether or not the allusions are intentional is debatable, however. After all, for as mind-blowing and original and game-changing as Star Wars was, it still drew heavy influences (and in some places totally ripped off) epics that preceded it. That's how storytelling evolves over time. We couldn't have had Falling Skies without Star Wars (and Star Trek and War of the Worlds, if we want to go way old-school), and in time, there will be new shows that can trace their lineage to Falling Skies. For every idea that appeared in some earlier work, Falling Skies presents its own twist and its own bits of originality. 


The moon mission to shut down the Espheni power generator continued as the gang figured out how to hotwire a space ship and then bickered over who got to drive. Tom wasn't particularly thrilled about letting someone else go where 12 men have gone before, and reluctantly agreed to dropping everyone's name into the Goblet of Fire, but when Ben was chosen—right after he half-assedly tried to explain the spike thing to a jealous Hal—Tom threw the competition and named himself Chewbacca. He admitted as much to Annie, but since Pope had already removed Tom and Weaver's names from the running, arguing that people like them would be needed to rebuild society once all is said and done, methinks this mission is far from ready to blast off. Pope could barely keep his mouth shut when Tom made his initial announcement. You just know he's coming up with some kind of plan. 


Now for the less-awesome events of "Drawing Straws": 

Despite kicking ass at Hitler Youth Camp, Matt Mason is back to being a sour teenager following the betrayal of his alien-mindwiped ladyfriend. I don't think we can really fault him, and if anything, his apparent regression into bratty rebellious teen is indicative of the level of thought the writers are giving every character this season. For all of his progress toward becoming the perfect child solder, Matt Mason is still a child, and eventually those hormones are gonna kick in. He had his heart broken, which sucks even when you aren't fighting off hordes of evil aliens at the end of the world. It's too bad he doesn't have a room he could just slam the door to and sulk in for the next few episodes, though. 

The Espheni cell phone to hell also returned, and inexplicably had the overlords chatting it up en inglés to each other, which is still a touch better than the awkward half-subtitled/half-English mess from the last time we saw those two touch base. That Lexie was revealed to also have access to the hellophone will probably come in handy later. 

And after deus-ex-Cochising all over this season, Cochise was deemed unable to pilot the Millennium Falcon with Tom, resulting in the need to draw names. How convenient. 

Finally, this crap:


CAN MAGGIE PLZ GO BACK TO BEING BADASS NOW? THANKS. 

In the grand scope of things, these are really minor complaints (except for Hal-Maggie-Ben; OMG STOP IT) that are largely overshadowed by the ridiculous fun of the Masons' moon mission and Darth Lexie's return to the light side. I love it, I love it. Whodathunk that god-awful alien baby storyline would have turned out to be so awesome after all? 



NOTES

– 1776 mhz. Cute. 

– "You have to be 15 to pilot an enemy spaceship and you don't even have your learner's permit yet." —Tom to Matt, who probably stomped off and screamed, "It's not fair, you just don't get me!" before blasting My Chemical Romance on the alien intercom system or whatever angsty teenagers today listen to. 

– Lexie is so stylin' despite the apocalypse. So jealous. 

– Got any predictions for the end of the season? Only two episodes to go!


Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 8/30/2015

Season 5 : Episode 10

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Maggie is a slut and Ben is a bitch ass so it's ok for a brother to steal your girl but not an outsider I'm glad bens going on the suicide mission. The eshpeni done f'd up
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1. They totally ripped off the BSG episode, where Starbuck messed around with a raider's insides to pilot it.
2. The scenes with Lexie are just gorgeous - her red cape striking against the bleak greyness of the surrounding area and 2 Mass.
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as in Major Matt Mason from 1968???


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R99hAG0tgkg
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The Ben/Maggie/Hal love triangle is making me not want to watch the show. It really creeps me out.
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I don't mind it, but there's a reason that it's all just kissing and kind of 'adolescent' at the moment. I don't think they are going to follow it through, something will be sorted out that resets everything. (I could be wrong, they've done stranger things, like Tom going to bomb the moon).
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I do hope they shift gears from 'adolescent' because far from creeping me out, I love this new development. I know its not fair on Hal BUT he is boring and not too long ago he thought love was a liability.
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Since we are on star wars references, blowing up the moon seems to be stealing from blowing up the "death star" idea.
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A couple more odd thoughts:

1) I hope I'm not the only one here old enough to remember this, but with Tom Mason going into space, did anyone else think of Major Matt Mason?

2) If Tom Mason is now bypassing democracy and rigging elections, does that qualify as a Masonic Conspiracy?

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1) Holy cr^&! Major Matt Mason! Haven't heard that name since, like, 6th grade. Unfortunately, our Matt has to stay behind and sulk. ("Take care of Col. Weaver, eh? Ha ha." Good job, Dad. Nothing says love to a surly teenager like condescension.)

2) For this show, more like a Masonite conspiracy.

And speaking of wooden, wasn't it cool how Lexie disassembled an oak tree (How'd she know it was an oak? Studied a lot of botany in her long life?) at the atomic level, and yet it still rained down neatly cut carpenter's shims?
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LMAO!!! I actually HAD THAT TOY SET!!

hahahahaha
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The worst goodbye ever...

I did pick up on all your Star Wars references, MaryAnn, except for Order 66; had to look that one up. Strangely, though, I feel absolutely no shame.

Anyway...
It was no surprise that Lexi came back, but that doesn't make it any less absurd. It was telegraphed by Anne's steadfast belief, while everyone else did protest too much. Having the overlords make it a non-decision for her, though, was weak. She overheard a conversation? Really? The non-espheni-approved dream about Ben was a bit of a red herring, I guess..

So the overlords can't tell when someone is party-lining their shadow fax?

What are we on now? Day 6 of the full moon? Wow.

Matt as a rebellious teen actually makes me miss Carl.

So the 2nd Mass REALLY is going along with their general taking the suicide mission, even though Dingdong is the obvious choice? Let's let our leader, who just got married and has god knows how many kids, put himself at high risk, instead of the engineer/pilot who WANTS to commit suicide anyway?

"I have to go. It's a feeling I have. Like your belief in Lexi. Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense. And besides, I'm the producer."

I'm sorry, but Dan Weaver beating up Pope is almost jumping the shark right there. Pope is such a softie when old men and little boys beat him up. They really need to get him back on his bipolar meds.

So, why would a survivor in Spain be symbolically broadcasting on 1776 mHz? Would the average Spaniard know the significance of that date to Americans? Would they care? Does the average American know the dates of the Spanish civil war? The death of Franco? Where Spain is? If I were a Spaniard, I'd broadcast to the States on 1898 mHz...

Um, Lexi, did you have to wait until the beamers were right overhead to blow 'em up? How many people were injured by the falling chunks?

Hal saw Ben and Maggie making out AGAIN! Wow, I totally didn't see that coming when they started kissing.

Who's the whiny woman who advocated hiding in a cave? Could they possibly have presented that alternative to us in a more unattractive fashion? Were the writers afraid if they had someone strong present it in a rational manner, we the audience might prefer it?

"Don't touch anything, Matt, except all those cable thingys we keep reaching down into dark crannies to mess around with. And for god's sake, don't touch the blue lights on those curiously human-sized steps!"

I can't wait to see Tom, Anne, Ben, Maggie, Hal, and little Matt standing up on the steps to receive their medals in front of the applauding throngs at the end of next season, while John Williams music blares in the background, and X-wing fighters scream overhead.
More+
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The Spanish broadcast on 1776 MHz was terrible. Enough with the pan-galactic fascination with the American Revolution.

The 2nd Mass., led by the American Revolution buff (who luckily survived the genocide!), cops all of their guerilla and insurgency tactics from our dear old Sons of Liberty. The Volm study it (how?) to learn that caching weapons can be useful in war (no wonder they're losing if they hadn't figured that out before...)

The Spanish broadcast on 1776 MHz, in hommage to that war, though ironically their message turns out to be "go in to hiding and forget about your chances of overthrowing the dictatorial occupiers." So maybe that was lost in translation.

Next week, we are sure to see Tom strike a George Washington-crossing-the-Delaware pose as his beamer nears the moon.

Although, this obsession still pales in comparison to the heavy-handedness of the Skitler Youth Camp (still your best line, cooj). It's like the writers sat down in a room and decided that they are going to teach the history of war to their viewers one way or another, dammit!

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When the Volm came to transport the 2nd Mass to the camps in Brazil, they sent a handful of armed Volm, clustered together in a single group, down into a low spot in the (armed) 2nd Mass camp. I thought, "No wonder these guys have been unable to defeat the Espheni for generations..."
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I wonder if anybody will bring up that if Lexie had been with them days earlier they would probably have a ton less casualties in the 2nd Mass. Not to mention what her reasoning for killing off Lourdes, her faithful follower, would be now. Surely since she was pro-Espheni she could have brought Lourdes to them and they could have changed her...
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Btw what happen the the black girl denny did she just like disappear lol thought ben and her had something going on
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I predict I will be left with hopes at the end of the season, only to have them dashed in the first episode of next season.
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Wow. Color me surprised. Tom was quite the prick, concerning the draw, in this episode.

I mean, the show usually goes out of its way to make him look like its golden boy... and then, in this episode, he was such a glory-hound about the mission. Sure, the episode eventually gave him an "out" by allowing him to claim he cheated, because he couldn't let Ben go without him. However, that whole spiel he gave to Ann about having a feeling he needs to go? Ugh.
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Hello Father. Just so you know, I just blew my other father to smithereens so if you don't want to hug me, I totally understand.
Also, don't ever talk bad about me behind my back. Just a heads up.
So, what time are we playing Taboo? Mother and I are going to blow you guys away.
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I like Maggie and Ben. If you remember Hal didn't treat her vey well sometimes. And it doesn't mean we will lose bad ass Magiie.
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I like Maggie and Ben too. I thought I'd have more problems with it, but Hal is such a jerk most of the time.

I'm a bit worried where it is going to end up though - with these writers, will Ben end up making a noble sacrifice on behalf of his brother and dying in some rediculous way, or give up his spikes? Either would not be a good move.
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Hal and Ben (and Matt) are going to learn that Maggie is actually their sister.
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hahahahaha lol
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"Whodathunk that god-awful alien baby storyline would have turned out to be so awesome after all?"
Yea after watching the 4400 I have a unhealthy fear of alien baby storylines as well.
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You can take it even further. Babys that have technology used to enhance them they rapidly grow.
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So the question is will lexi become a jedi master or a sith lord?!?!? So much nonsense i sense in you!!

I found funny that the espheni that gave lexi her ubber powers, said he had a way to dispose of lexi, the hilarious part is it meant choking her to death!! BAHAHAHa. Here i though he had a kill switch!!! FAIL!!!


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I suspect the Espheni yet unseen enemy is going to show up in the final and take Lexi down. But she buys just enough time for Tom, the half burnt Espeni and Ben to escape back to Earth.
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He actually said he had a way to control her, not kill her. It was his brother who wanted him to get rid of her.

I assume his form of "control" had nothing to do with strangling Lexie; however, we'll never know if Lexie has a kill-switch (or something else), because that guy is loooooooooong gone.
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Is it hubris, or just stupid writing, that the first skill our Espheni wizard teaches his young protege, before truly cementing her allegiance, is ultimate control over all physical matter in the universe?

"Heh heh heh, now she can control every molecule in existence! Wait, am *I* made of... ARRRGH!"
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I think the writing failed here. I mean it was all to convenient.

Lexi: oh his communicating with a glowing red rock, let me make one and it will take me to their dimension.....O_o? really? and wait for it.....nobody noticed!! LOL

Also his going to make a god-like human with control over matter, molecules, etc..etc.. i'm here thinking why? why couldn't the make an espheni to have these abilities? Let us make a different species be more powerful than us and hope we can choke them to death when the time comes? Again.....HUH? WHAT? R U SERIOUS??!?!?!
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Once again we have a case of too much blind trust put in to a Mason family member.

Last week, Tom picks Matt to stand watch over his own sweetheart, while everyone else in the family clearly sees her as a potential threat.

This week, the community allows Tom, the only person who was biased against the lottery, to draw the names from the skull. "Look, here's my empty (but gloved) left hand for the first name. And now I will draw the second name with my right hand, and, wow, it happens to be my own name!" No reason for anyone to call BS on that...

Oh, and the product placements are getting worse. The big Burger King logo in Chinatown, Ben's jacket, and of course the infamous Hershey Bar for strength of three weeks ago. I'm pretty much expecting that the finale will reveal that the Espheni came here for the cool, refreshing taste of Diet Coke.


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Who TF would choose a skitter skull for everyone to put their names in?
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It's a known fact that Volm technology is powered by the exothermic reaction caused by Mentos and Coke.
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Why would an unmanned drone have an oxygen supply system that would allow a human to leave our atmosphere in it? Why are there steps/stairs in a drone? Why is it so spacious inside? Finally, how is that thing even able to fly still; Cochise blew it out of the sky with a missle, it crashed, an Espheni bomb exploded inside it and it was buried under a collapsed building. That is a lot of disbelief to suspend. The writers are phoning this season in.
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I don't think the bomb exploded inside; it looked more like it launched out of the drone and streaked across the sky, failing to attract the attention of the Espheni in the process.

That being said, you're totally right about the utter ridiculousness of the remote-controlled drone being shot down by the Volm SAM yet still being flyable (without the Espheni attempting to recall it), and it being large enough to park an SUV in. It appears the writers are going to completely gloss over the oxygen supply thing.
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We have seen Espheni travel in them several times in the show.

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The Espheni ship comes with heavy-duty armor... plot armor that is! ;p
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Alien or not, Lexi is hot.
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Why does Dr. Glass have mustard stains on her pillow?
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Those aren't mustard stains....
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well when the world been destroyed by aliens you can't be picky about the pillow you get, just be glad you got a pillow.
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I agree - I thought it was actually one of the better directorial decisions made - to have the reigning couple adjusted to the squalor that is the new normal. Similarly, she scrounged up a dress to get married in but it was plausible because it was just plain (versus Lourdes' extreme makeover days and Lexi's magic sweater that keeps transforming into more and more outfits).

Why they got married outside (or can form work crews for big outside projects) without fear of enemy recon, I can't explain. I guess all the skitters and mechs are too busy walking around in patches of woods and backroads that appear uninhabited.
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Glad I wasn't the only one who noticed that. As she was about to lay her head on that pillow I was screaming at my TV "No! No! No!"
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MaryAnn - thank you for all these wonderful Star Wars' references. You made my day :)

And I agree Maggie needs to find her lost ovaries ASAP and become badass again.

Thanks for review!
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My mom and I said "Use the force, Luke" at the exact same time during the training scene. :)

I am sick and tired of the Hal-Maggie-Ben storyline, as well. I don't see how it's going to end happily, since Maggie and Ben will always have a weird connection thanks to the spikes. Either Maggie and Hal will have to stay far away from Ben (or vice versa), someone's going to die, or someone will have to remove their spikes. I can see Ben giving up the rest of his spikes for Maggie's life.... Or the aliens pull something out of their rumps to save the say.
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I'm rooting for Ben to die, and I JUST figured out why I've never been able to like him:

The actor playing Ben has a habit of sounding like he's "trailing off" (I really don't know how to put it, but there's something he does, and "trailing off" is the best description I can come up with), in his inflection, at the end of a lot of his lines. This is honestly one of the few times where I think I wouldn't dislike a character as much as I do if they were played by someone else.
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I found this episode boring, to much talking and not enough doing stuff, the least they should have spent more time learning the Espheni technology and learning to fly the ship in actual flight and getting on with the Moon mission rather than having endless debates and good bye conversations given that these are experience season fighters they just seemed out of place.

The whole radio message seems a bit too convenient for my liking. Something up with that and why would the Espeni let such a transmission continue. An remember the Espheni could predict the future, I suspect we are in the miss of a setup of some sort.
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I would do her.
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All i have to say is whoever was the person that wrote the ben and maggie hook up should get fired on the spot not only is it dumb as hell but its just nasty as fak to watch am i the only one that cringes whenever they kiss just nasty as for the rest it was solid take out the the whole ben maggie hal stuff it was a good episode
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It's not nasty, and it's not stupid. It's unusually smart for this show. Ben developed a crush on Maggie when Hal was away, and now that they're sharing the spikes, she gets aroused when he does.

I'm not a fan of triangles in general, but if they resolve this fairly quickly (and not by someone's death or Ben getting unspiked), I'm definitely OK with it. I also think that Ben and Maggie are an interesting pairing. Ben isn't as boring as Hal.
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I agree Hal is boring. Even when he was infected by alien he was boring. He isn't even a good boyfriend in my opinion. Wasn't he the one telling Maggie if everyone avoided love and relationships they would be better equipped to live in their world? Put all that next to Ben's feelings coming across on spike radio and Hal's a goner. At least I hope he is.

I think this time Maggie was aroused first. Her spikes lit up before Ben's did in response. I think the spikes made Maggie aware of Ben - gave her a little nudge, and perhaps they are making her act on new found emotions she would have otherwise ignored (OR if the show wanted to go real soap opera on us, dragged out until we rolled our eyes in disgust). You could see how upset she was when his name got pulled out of that skull - that wasn't all spike.

I am glad though. I like the idea of a Ben and Maggie pairing. They look great together and now that they are sharing spikes can be bad ass together.

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